Dekok and the Dead Harlequin

Albert Cornelis Baantjer, Author, H. G. Smittenaar, Translator Intercontinental Publishing $7.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-881164-04-3
Baantjer's ( Murder in Amsterdam ) latest mystery finds his hero, Inspector DeKok, in fine form. His eyebrows continue to have ``a life of their own,'' and they get plenty of exercise in this tale of murderous revenge, as Pierre Brassel, a respected Amsterdam accountant, brazenly asks DeKok for an appointment to discuss how he can commit the perfect murder. At the meeting, he announces that the corpse of Jan Brets, an underworld figure, can be found in a nearby hotel; the meeting is his alibi when Brets is discovered dead, exactly where Brassel said he would be. The victim's head is smashed in and his body shaped into a grotesque harlequin form. A series of red herrings and dead ends leads up to a second murder, in the same place as the first, with the victim's body twisted into the same harlequin form. Brassel again conveniently arranges for DeKok to be his alibi. As in Baantjer's earlier works, the issue of moral ambiguity once again plays heavily here, as DeKok ultimately solves the crimes, but only after threatening to perjure himself, and in the end he lets the double-murderer go free in the interest of a greater good than justice under the law. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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